The Most Common Parasites Found in Pets and How to Prevent Them

Common Parasites

What are the most common parasites found in pets?

Common Parasites Found in Pets and How to Prevent & Maintain Health

The Reality of Parasites in Pets

Pets are susceptible to a variety of parasites, both internal and external. Internal parasites can cause serious illnesses if left unchecked. External parasites cause itching, skin problems, and can be carriers of diseases. While it can be difficult to entirely protect your pet from all parasites, there are steps you can take to help minimize your pet’s risk.

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What are the Most Common Parasites Found in Pets?

Some of the most common parasites found in pets include fleas, ticks, lice, mites, heartworms, roundworms, and whipworms.

Fleas

Fleas are small, wingless insects that feed on the blood of their host. They are easily spread and can survive in temperatures as low as 31°F. Fleas can cause irritation, intense scratching, and skin infections in pets.

Ticks

Ticks are small parasites that attach themselves to their host and feed on the blood. They can transmit serious diseases including Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.

Lice

Lice are small, flightless parasites that feed on the skin of their host. They can cause intense itching and hair loss. Dogs and cats can both be affected by lice.

Mites

Mites are tiny parasites which feed on their host’s skin, causing irritation, itching, and hair loss. One of the most common mite species, the demodex mite, is found in the fur of dogs and cats, and can cause skin problems such as hair loss, scaly skin, and inflamed lesions.

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Heartworms

Heartworms are a species of worms which live in the heart and pulmonary arteries of dogs and cats. They can cause serious and potentially fatal health problems in pets.

Roundworms

Roundworms are large, sausage-shaped parasites which can live in the small intestine of cats and dogs. They can cause vomiting, diarrhea, poor growth and development, and potentially even death in pets.

Whipworms

Whipworms are a species of worms which can infect cats and dogs. They live in the small intestine and can cause weight loss, anemia, vomiting, and diarrhea.

How to Prevent & Maintain Health Against Parasites

The best way to protect your pet from parasites is to take preventive measures and to treat any existing infections.

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Preventative Measures

Some of the most effective preventative measures include:

  • Keeping your pet away from areas that may be infested with parasites
  • Using flea and tick preventative products such as collars, sprays, and spot-on treatments
  • Having your pet vaccinated against heartworm, and other infectious diseases
  • Giving your pet monthly de-worming medications
  • Regularly checking your pet for signs of parasites

Treatments

If your pet already has parasites, there are treatments available for most types of parasites. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on the best way to treat your pet, and what products are available for prevention.

Conclusion

Parasites can be a serious concern for pet owners. It is important to take preventive measures to reduce your pet’s risk of infection, and to seek immediate treatment if your pet shows signs of illness. By taking these steps, you can help to keep your pet healthy and safe.